what's going on now:
president bloom's proposal
ad hoc committee
brief history of the campaign
Fall 2000: Five months
of on-campus research begin, during which students meet with staff members
on a one-on-one basis and in small group meetings to discuss their concerns
about their jobs at the College. From these discussions emerge two primary
areas of concern: wages and respect.
February 2001: The SLW&DC issues a report to College
President Al Bloom and his senior staff, calling for increased wages and
democratic decision-making involvement for low-wage staff members.
Spring 2002: The Staff Compensation Review Committee, while
explicitly stating that its intention was not to implement or consider a
living wage, recommends that the Swarthmore minimum wage be raised from
$6.66 to $9 an hour.
April 4, 2002: The SLWDC holds the "Keep on
Movin' Forward" rally on the National Student-Labor Day of Action.
The campaign applauds the College's first step toward a more just
compensation system. But since many Swarthmore staff members still do not
earn a living wage, the College must "Keep on Movin' Forward."
May 2002: After a faculty straw vote in support of the
goals of the SLWDC, President Bloom creates the President's Ad
Hoc Committee on the Living Wage to determine what a Swarthmore living wage
is. It begins meeting in the fall of 2002.
February 2004: The Ad Hoc Committee releases its preliminary
report on what constitutes a living wage at Swarthmore:
-- a wage increase to $10.72/hour (majority recommendation) or $13.89/hour
--a childcare benefit,
--full health coverage for employees and their families,
-- and a plan to decompress wages (that is, to increase wages,
in decreasing amounts, for those making above the new minimum wage).
As per its charge, however, the Committee does not offer a funding proposal.
Still, this proposal is viewed by the College community as one of the most
creative and progressive in the country.
April 2004: A dining services employee organizes an anonymous
survey--the only action to effectively gauge opinion--which
receives over 50 responses from dining services staff, all of which are
Fall 2004: President Bloom releases a proposal which he
plans to bring to the Board of Managers, suggesting that the College only
offer an increased healthcare benefit for family coverage. Later, upon discovering
CHIP (a federally-subsidized state program offering health coverage to children
of low-income workers), he amends his proposal to suggest that the College
offer extended coverage for spouses only. In response, faculty members draft
their own proposal, calling for a wage increase to $10.72/hour (plus inflation),
and that the College cover employees' family members who may not qualify
December 4, 2004: Swarthmore College Board of Managers
expected to make a decision on the living wage.